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Which one is grammatically correct? Can we use the relative clause in the past tense, when the main clause is in the present?

Close relatives and friends who moved to other countries, are no longer resorted to spend their money on international calls.

Close relatives and friends who have moved to other countries, are no longer resorted to spend their money on international calls.

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    The first thing I'd do is remove the comma. When we read the sentence we parse it mentally so the comma serves only to intrude. – green_ideas Apr 7 '17 at 12:19
  • are no longer resorted to comes across as unnatural to me, but perhaps it's okay in some dialects (Indian English/es?) – green_ideas Apr 7 '17 at 12:22
  • Anyway, in American English there is no problem using the simple past in the relative clause. Example: Those family members who moved to California no longer feel obligated to visit their parents in Florida. – green_ideas Apr 7 '17 at 12:24
  • @Clare, thank you very much for your explanation. I am Russian native speaker, so that's why my sentence may sound a bit weird. This is formal writing for IELTS, so I wanted to reassure which one is exactly correct. – Aliya Apr 7 '17 at 12:29
  • What do you mean by "resorted"? Do you mean "obliged" or perhaps "obligated"? Those words both sound more natural to me; but I'm not sure which meaning you want. – green_ideas Apr 7 '17 at 12:35
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There is no rule in English that requires the verb in the relative clause to be in the same tense as the verb in the main clause. Lewis in The English Verb: An Exploration of Structure and Meaning (p148) states:

It is the verb phrase not the sentence which is the fundamental unit requiring analysis. Certain combinations are, for semantic reasons, highly frequent, while others are less frequent ... .

In other words, we need to decide clause by clause which tense is the most appropriate to communicate our meaning. It may be that sentences where the verbs in both main and relative clause are in different tenses are less common. But they are certainly semantically viable and grammatical. For example:

  1. Close relatives and friends who moved to other countries are no longer obliged to spend their money on international calls. (main clause: present tense - relative clause: past tense)

  2. Close relatives and friends who move to other countries will no longer be obliged to spend their money on international calls. (main clause: future with will - relative clause: present tense)

The difference in tense between the relative clause in sentence 1 above and in:

  1. Close relatives and friends who have moved to other countries are no longer obliged to spend their money on international calls. (main clause: present tense - relative clause: present tense)

is based on the typical choice between past simple and present perfect. In sentence 1 the speaker conceives of the move as having taken place at some point in finished time (for which the past tense is the usual choice):

Close relatives and friends who moved to other countries (e.g. during the Iraq war) ... .

In sentence 3 the speaker is focused more on the fact of moving than when it happened (or uses an adjunct of unfinished time - for which the present perfect is the usual choice):

Close relatives and friends who have moved to other countries (e.g. since the Iraq war) ... .

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I wish I spoke Russian, and I know this is difficult for you guys because to Russians and Czechs and Poles and Slovaks and Slovenians and anyone from around there it’s wholly senseless, but in English it’s vital and it will cost you marks in IELTS and there is no way round it.

‘I am Russian native speaker’ is and always will be wrong in English. It is not optional. You must include an article, in this case probably giving ‘I am a Russian native speaker…’; not impossibly 'I am the Russian native speaker…' Talking to hundreds of people from those nations above and more, my experience is that most find English articles not only a real challenge but fairly clearly, their greatest challenge. I completely sympathise; I wish it were not so but it is and any English proficiency exam will mark you down for messing up your articles.

What IELTS thinks about this next, I’ve no idea and ‘I am a Russian native speaker’ might be your worst choice. ‘I am a native Russian speaker’ is much better and ‘I am a native speaker of Russian’ might be best… depending on the context.

Strictly, that's why my sentence ‘might’ sound a bit weird would be at least twice as good if it used ‘may…’

‘… I wanted to reassure which one is exactly correct’ will never work. ‘Reassure’ can’t hover alone in space; it needs a person upon whom to act.

‘… I wanted to reassure myself which one… ’ could almost work but the statement would still need to match the tense of its own beginning.

‘… I wanted to reassure myself which one was exactly correct’ would almost work but ‘exactly’ isn’t helpful; it’s confusing.

‘… I wanted to reassure myself which one was correct’ works perfectly.

Going back to the OQ of ‘moved’ or ‘have moved’ both are acceptable in different contexts.

Broadly, ‘I moved’ describes something that I once did; ‘I have moved’ describes something that I have now finished doing.

Please look at http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/English/move.html

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